Farmers concerned about RFS waivers
Small refinery waivers were a topic of concern during a farmer roundtable with Congressman Greg Pence Wednesday evening.
The meeting was part of the 2019 Shop Talk series by the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Growers Association. The meetings allow farmers to discuss ag policy with lawmakers.
Pence says it’s unclear how much the waivers will impact farmers yet.
“We reached out to the EPA today (Wednesday)…we’ve also reached out to the ethanol companies, so I think before we can say here’s what’s going to happen to the farmers we still have to gather a little more information,” he says.
Cory Harris, public affairs manager with ISA and ICGA, says there is an imbalance in the regulatory framework of the RFS that is negatively impacting Hoosier farmers.
He says that was seen this week with the announcement that POET biorefining will idle its Cloverdale, Indiana plant.
“Even before the waivers that were granted last week we had already seen the EPA waive as many gallons of ethanol that equates to the entire Indiana corn crop in 2017,” he says. “So, add in the additional 1.4 billion we waived last week and now we’re talking about nearly two times the Indiana corn crop that has been waived.”
He says the solution is not to say there shouldn’t be waivers, because there are small refiners who quality. But he says the problem is there isn’t transparency with who gets waivers, how they qualify, and why they get it.
Phil Ramsey, a central Indiana farmer who hosted the shop talk on his farm, says the waivers are hurting farmers.
“It’s less corn being used and so it’s a big issue that if we can use our own corn and soybeans as fuel it helps get rid of the pile and help the price,” he says.
Indiana is the fifth-largest producers of U.S. ethanol, generating more than 1.1 billion gallons each year.